Top 5 Mountaineers Ever in Europe

Reaching the unreachable is something we always want to do, and mountaineers are some of those who actually succeed in this. Mountaineering began as an attempt to reach the highest point possible of any unclimbed mountain. Depending on the route chosen, i.e. rock, snow, or ice, it requires different set of skills along with experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to be safe.

List of top 5 mountaineers in Europe of all time.


1. Reinhold Messner

Born on 17 September 1944, in South Tyrol, Italy, Reinhold Messner is one of the greatest mountaineers of all time. He was introduced to mountaineering by his father when he was only 5 years old. On may 8, 1978 he became the first mountaineer to climb Mount Everest without any supplement oxygen, which previously thought to be impossible.

In 1980, he completed his first solo ascent of Mount Everest, and wrote the book, The Crystal Mountain, describing his glorious climb. He continued writing books, and wrote more than 50 during his career. In 1986 he became the first man to climb all the peaks above 8000 Meters. In 1999, Messener showed interest in politics; he won a seat in European parliament, but served only one term and left the office in 2004.

He lives in South Tyrol, Italy, with his partner, Sabine, and their children.

2. Jerzy Kukuczka

Jerzy Kukuczka was a Polish alpine and high-altitude climber. He was born on 24 March 1948 in Katowice, and he died on 24 October 1989 in Lhitse in Nepal. On 18th Sept 1987, he became the second person after Reinhold to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders in the world. Jerzy was the first person to climb three right-thousanders in winter ascents, and the only person who has climbed four eight-thousanders during winters.

He held world record for the shortest time span to summit the eight-thousanders for 27 years before Kim Chang-Ho. During his career, Jerzy established ten new routes. He was member of the elite group of Himalyan climbers, who specialize in winter ascents and are also known as the Ice Warriors. He died during an attempt to climb the unclimbed face of Lhotse in Nepal in 1989.

3. Peter Habeler

Born on 22 July 1942, in Mayrhofen, Austria, Peter Hebeler was introduced to mountaineering at the age of six. He was the first Europeon to climb Big Walls in Yosemite National Park. He began climbing with Messner in 1969, and climbed Mount Everest without supplement oxygen in 1978. After an year of his climb he published “Lonely Victory”.

In 1975, along with Messner he made the ascent of Hidden peak Alpine-style, and was the first to attempt a eight-thousander with alpine-style; it was consider as a new era of mountain climbing. Hebeler became a skilled instructor at the age of 21, and founded Peter Habeler Ski and Mountaineering School in his hometown of Mayrhofen, Austria. The school is now run by his son and often visited by Messner.

4. Maurice Herzog

Herzog was born on 15 January 1919 in Lyon, France, and died on 13 December 2012 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. He led the expedition that first climbed a peak over 8000 meters, Annapurna, in 1950. After his return he wrote one of the best selling books, “Annapurna”, describing his journey.

Along with Louis Lachenal, Herzog became one of the first climbers in modern history to climb a peak over 8000 meters, and their expedition was remarkable, because they explored, reconnoitred, and climbed the leak in one season, without any supplement oxygen.

He became the French Minister of Youth and Sport from 1958 to 1963, and mayor of the alpine town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. He was a member of the International Olympic Committee for 25 years from 1970.

5. George Herbert Leigh Mallory

Mallory was born on 18 June 1886, in Mobberley, Cheshire, England, and died on 8–9 June 1924, The North Face, Mount Everest, Tibet. He was an English mountaineer who took part in first three British Expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s. He is still remembered as the one who was lost in Himalayas for 75 years.

Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” with “Because it’s there”. These are considered as the best three words in the field of mountaineering.

In June 1924, he went for his last climb to Mount Everest. Malloy vanished during the expedition on June 9th and was widely mourned in Britain. In 2007, his body was found by Conrad Anker, a mountaineer expert who tried to retrace his final steps in Altitude Everest Expedition.

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